An Australian advertising firm has resurrected the spirit of those 1950s “educational” shock films with a slick commercial that warns young people of the potentially deadly consequences of skipping school to frolic on a beach.
Four friends hit the road in a microbus, then trespass behind a chain-link fence to get to a pretty perfect beach. While they’re performing said frolicking, we see the young people start getting blown up one by one in an explosively blood-red manner until there’s just one bikini-clad girl left, staring at the gore she’s now covered in—the dark-magenta remains of her now-blown-up friends. Then the camera pulls out for the big reveal: According to a sign on the fence, they’ve trespassed onto an explosives testing site. Then these words appear on the screen: “This is what happens when you slack off. Stay in school.”
“It’s a bit of a f–k you to advertising.”
The ad is “about contradicting standard advertisements — it’s a bit of a fuck you to advertising in general,” said ad cocreator Henry Inglis of production company Henry & Aaron, which made the film for the nonprofit Learn for Life Foundation. “It’s playing on those idealized commercials of people breaking free from their confines. We completely reverse that.”
That classic Orwellian ad by Apple that made Super Bowl commercials as popular as the game itself was actually reviled by the company’s execs, who attempted to yank ‘1984’ before it aired.
“We showed them a rough draft, and they thought we were insane.”
This year’s Super Bowl XLVIII marks the 30th anniversary of this iconic spot, and of the Macintosh computer it touted as a hip alternative to IBM’s products. If it hadn’t been for Steve Jobs’s love of the commercial—and some ad execs who didn’t follow orders from the top—Super Bowl XVIII viewers’ jaws wouldn’t have dropped as the muscled blonde athlete ran through director Ridley Scott’s dystopian vision wielding her mighty hammer of freedom from the mundane.
Kids who grew up in the 70s and 80s were treated to a more kid-friendly version of those beloved prehistoric working stiffs, the Flintstones. But when it started out in the 60s, The Flintstones was a Honeymooners clone made for adults. This was obvious from the content of the 1960 to 1966 original run, featuring domestic and blue-collar situations. Can kids really relate to getting laid off, working a thankless, dead-end job, or getting into trouble with the little lady?
The big Internet companies are behind the “high” times when it comes to legal weed. Even though they’re able to localize advertisements to niche geographical markets, Google and Facebook currently refuse to run ads from the burgeoning marijuana industry in places like Colorado and Washington state, where it’s now legal to buy and sell the once taboo drug for recreational use.
“It’s pretty ridiculous and short-sighted — not to mention hypocritical — for them to leave those legitimate ad dollars on the table,” wrote Taylor West, of the National Cannabis Industry Association, to GigaOm.com. “We are told that our posts ‘violate content guidelines,’ or something along those lines.”
Facebook cites — but does not define — “risk” associated with running pot ads. “The risk of attempting to allow ads promoting the drug in certain states or countries where it is legal is too high (no pun intended) for us to consider at this time,” Facebook rep Tim Rathschmidt wrote to GigaOm.
Twitter is also cold to pro-marijuana advertising, reports AdWeek.com. But marketing insiders tell AdWeek they expect this to change when the industry’s huge returns become evident. And when the celebrity endorsements start going viral.
“Snoop Dogg can be the Michael Jordan of the weed market,” said Nick Adler of lifestyle marketing firm Cashmere Agency.
It’s only a matter of time until Snoop and other pot luminaries, like Woody Harrelson and Willie Nelson, are being courted with huge deals to endorse what was once the scourge of society.
Hang your heads low, American cereal execs. The shame! For decades you have been selling us the sugary rainbow of lies drenched in polyglycerol polyricinoleate acid that generations have known as Froot Loops. Toucan Sam? More like Toucan SCAM!
As The Straight Dope so wisely pointed out back in 1999, Kellogg’s morning-meal mendacity, first launched in 1963, contains just one flavor, despite all the wondrous colors the cardboard container holds beckoningly within.
Yep, those round, gleaming breakfasty gems’ promise of diverse delectability is nothing but a long con perpetuated on unsuspecting Americans whose veins run pure with high-fructose corn syrup, yearning for nothing more than freedom, truth and individual fruit-like flavors.
At first we thought maybe Hidden Valley was going full ironic hipster by selling candles that smelled like its signature ranch dressing or hoaxing the web with a campaign for a fake product. Some quick Internet sleuthing revealed, however, that this commercial is the creation of one Mickey Dwyer, a Hidden Valley-obsessed auteur whose YouTube channel features a slew of other delightful ad parodies, including one for Hidden Valley breath strips.
While you probably shouldn’t hold your breath for a proper Full House reunion, fans of the dopey 1980s famcom are in for a treat. John Stamos, Bob Saget and Dave Coulier are featured in a teaser for an upcoming Super Bowl ad for Dannon’s Oikos Greek Yogurt.
When Saget suggests it’s time for the trio to get their own houses, the other two roundly dismiss the idea.
EntertainmentWeekly.com doubts that any characters beyond the “Uncle Jesse/Danny/Joey trifecta” will make an appearance in the full Super Bowl version, but opines: “Maybe the gang invited Scott Weinger, a.k.a. Steve, over for game day! Maybe they’ll realize that the sportscaster they’re watching looks an awful lot like Lori Loughlin! Maybe their party gets crashed by an all-grown-up Andrea Barber, better known as Kimmy Gibbler! And given Oikos’s ‘Greek’ origins, a beyond-the-grave visit from Papouli’s ghost would be more than appropriate.”
Before he headed up The Office or even commentated on The Daily Show, a young Steve Carell could be seen hawking fried chicken in commercials for a regional fast-food chain. Tina Fey, barely recognizable compared to her turns on Saturday Night Live and 30 Rock, could be seen in a creepy abandoned building talking up the virtues of a bank. A baby-faced Aaron Paul, aka Jesse Pinkman of Breaking Bad fame, seemed to be going through withdrawal symptoms as he anticipated his next fix of Corn Pops.
For its brilliant and even heartwarming Super Bowl XLVIII ad, Axe body spray brings back that crusty but enduring 1960s chestnut: “Make love, not war.”
Axe, known for targeting hormone-crazy teens and twentysomethings with commercials showing how a spritzing of the body spray magically causes gorgeous women to throw themselves at young men, has taken a radically different tact for its 2014 Super Bowl spot.